Revisions to US Club Soccer’s Policy Manual, focused on Participant Safety/Risk Management

December 21, 2021

US Club Soccer members,

Revisions have been made to US Club Soccer’s Policy Manual, primarily focused on Participant Safety/Risk Management in alignment with our Players First philosophy, U.S. Soccer’s Safe Soccer Program and Policy 212-3, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP).

The revisions are effective January 1, 2022. A summary of highlights is below.


Relevant documents / web pages
:


Responsibility of US Club Soccer Member Organizations
:

With your cooperation and implementation, these policies will have a positive impact on our collective participants’ health and safety. Accordingly, please:

  1. Review and become familiar with the revised policies, and ensure your Member Organization and affiliated Participants are in compliance.
  2. Review and become familiar with US Club Soccer’s Participant Health and Safety/Risk Management web page, which contains a variety of helpful resources.
  3. Distribute and make this information easily accessible to everyone in your Member Organization, including Adult Participants and parents of Minor Athletes.


Policy 4.07 – Staff Registration
:

US Club Soccer staff registration must be completed for all Direct Adult Participants (DAPs), except for players who have no other DAP role, before participating in activities within US Club Soccer’s jurisdiction or with US Club Soccer-registered Minor Athletes. This now includes, among other roles, all Board members of Member Organizations. See Policy 13.01 for more.

>> Staff Registration – Who Must Register web page


Policy 13.01 – Policy Statement and Definitions
:

The following definitions were either revised or adopted:

  • Adult Participant
    • Direct Adult Participant (DAP)
    • Third-party Adult Participant (TPAP)
  • Authority
  • Close-in-Age Exception
  • Dual Relationships
  • In-Program Contact
  • Minor Athlete
  • Participant
  • Personal Care Assistant (PCA)
  • Regular Contact


Policy 13.02 – Eligibility Status and Determinations
:

The former Sections 13.02 (Eligibility Determinations) and 13.03 (Disqualification of Individuals) were consolidated and refined into this revised Section 13.02.


Policy 13.03 – Reporting
:

The reporting obligations did not change substantially. Participants are still required to report 1) suspected child abuse to law enforcement, and 2) suspected abuse or other misconduct to US Club Soccer, and as may be applicable, the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

>> Report a Concern web page


Policy 13.04 / Appendix A – Prohibited Conduct
:

This section did not change substantially. The policy continues to be adopted from U.S. Soccer’s Prohibited Conduct Policy, and is in alignment with MAAPP requirements.

>> Prohibited Conduct Policy web page


Policy 13.05 / Appendix B – Prevention Policies Limiting 1-on-1 Interactions Between Adults and Minors
:

Significant changes were made to this section. Please take the time to review in detail and share accordingly.

Topics addressed: a) one-on-one interactions/meetings; b) athletic training modalities, massages and rundowns; c) locker rooms and changing areas; d) electronic communications; e) transportation; f) lodging; and g) Minor Athletes who become adult athletes.

A few highlights:

  • All one-on-one In-Program Contact between an Adult Participant and a Minor Athlete must be observable and interruptible.
  • Adult Participants are not permitted to communicate privately via electronic communications (including, but not limited to, text messaging and social media) with Minor Athletes. At all times, another Adult Participant and/or the Minor Athlete’s legal guardian are to be included.
  • Adult Participants should not maintain private social media connections with Minor Athletes, and Adult Participants should discontinue existing social media connections with minor Athletes. It is anticipated that this recommendation will become a requirement in the near future.
  • Member Organizations and/or Adult Participants are required to obtain written permission of a Minor Athlete’s legal guardian for certain situations, such as transportation and In-Program lodging.
  • At least two Adult Participants must be present for any In-Program lodging room check.

>> Prevention Policies web page


Policy 13.06 – Risk Management Committee
:

This section was revised to refine the structure and responsibilities of the Risk Management Committee (RMC) and Risk Management Review Panel.


Policy 13.07 – Risk Management Appeals:

The corresponding administrative process was updated. 


Policy 13.08 – Background screening
:

Background screening is required of all Adult Participants, as follows:

  • DAPs, except for players who have no other DAP role, must complete background screening and the Disqualification-Suspension Review requirement via the US Club Soccer staff registration process.

  • For DAPs who are players and have no other DAP role, and for TPAPs, the applicable Member Organization (which purchased the registration/membership or contracted with the TPAP) is responsible for ensuring the Adult Participant is not on any of the specified registries or disqualification/suspension lists. See the link below for instructions.

>> Background screening web page


Policy 13.09 – U.S. Center for SafeSport Training
:

SafeSport Core or Refresher Training is required of all Adult Participants, as follows:

  • DAPs must complete or document compliance via the US Club Soccer player or staff registration process.

    • Accordingly, US Club Soccer is making the training a registration requirement for all youth players who will be 18+ years old during the applicable registration year. That means the training must be completed for registration to be complete and a passcard to be issued, and some 16- and 17-year-olds will be required to complete training with parental consent.

    • For the 2021-22 registration year, impacted players are those who will be 18+ years old on or before July 31, 2022.

    • GotSport and TGS are updating their technology to accommodate this. A separate communication and instructional article will follow shortly when that work is completed. In the meantime, and for impacted players who are already registered for 2021-22, passcards will not be rescinded, but compliance is still required and will be enforced via audit.
  • For TPAPs or other individuals who are not DAPs, US Club Soccer staff registration may be used to complete or document compliance, but it is not required. Those individuals are nevertheless required to abide by Policy 13.09(a), and compliance is the responsibility of the applicable Member Organization.

Additionally, US Club Soccer strongly encourages completion of the following trainings on an annual basis:

  • The Parent’s Guide to Misconduct in Sport Training (for all parents of Minor Athletes); and
  • Minor athlete training (for all Minor Athletes, subject to parental consent)

>> SafeSport web page on usclubsoccer.org

>> Email SafeSport@usclubsoccer.org to receive an auto-reply with instructions to access SafeSport Training


Compliance (13.10)
:

A few updates were made to this section regarding local, state or federal requirements, and mandatory self-disclosure. Additionally, US Club Soccer reserves the right to audit or otherwise review Member Organizations’ compliance with US Club Soccer’s Participant Safety/Risk Management policies. Those who are not in compliance are subject to disqualification, corrective action, disciplinary action and/or termination.

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Thanks for your commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for all of our Participants, and for your support of US Club Soccer.


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A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

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